NOTE: This article was first published in my blog on Saturday, April 5, 2014.
I’m writing this on the Saturday night before the 2014 NAB Show starts on Monday here in Las Vegas. Already companies are making announcements and jockeying for position to make sure you learn about their latest products.
NOTE: Our podcast – DigitalProductionBuzz.com – is covering NAB extensively with over ten hours of live and recorded programming during NAB week. You can get all the latest NAB news here: www.NABShowBuzz.com.
However, today I had a chance to catch up on my press release reading and chatting with some favorite vendors who were at a mini-trade show this weekend before the start of NAB itself.
This blog is a short write-up of interesting factoids that I learned today; in no particular order.
Apple announced today that they had more than one million separate installations of Final Cut Pro X. Last year, they said that the installed base of FCP X users exceeded that of FCP 7. Today, they put a number on it.
When the new Mac Pro was launched, I read that one GPU was dedicated to video monitoring while the other GPU was dedicated to power-assisting the CPU. What I discovered today was that if the GPU used for video monitoring is not busy – for example, you are using it to feed a single HD monitor – the additional unused processing power of that GPU is available to the CPU. What this means in English is that the faster and more powerful your GPUs are, the better performance you’ll get from your computer. This is a good reason, if you have a limited budget, to spend your money on high-end GPUs, rather than getting a faster CPU.
Unlike Final Cut Pro 7, when FCP X analyzes a Timeline clip for image stabilization or optical flow, it only analyzes from the In to the Out of the clip. (Unless you ask FCP X to analyze an entire clip during import; which I don’t recommend simply because it takes a LONGGGG time…!) If you trim the clip, only the part that hasn’t yet been analyzed is reviewed by the software. This provides a big performance boost compared to FCP 7.
Avid announced a new strategy called: Avid Everywhere. This is Avid’s “strategic vision for the media and entertainment industry, centered on connecting creative professionals and media organizations;” according to the Avid press release. They introduced a new “Avid MediaCentral Platform” and set of modular application suites that together represent the most open, integrated, and flexible media production and distribution environment in the industry. The new system integrates ProTools, Avid Media Composer, Isis and other Avid software and hardware into a single unified architecture. There are a series of announcements that revolve around this. Learn more at: apps.avid.com.
This afternoon, JB&A Distribution held a mini-trade show featuring some of their media and IP streaming vendors, such as Caché, Xendata, NewTek, Telestream, and about 20 others. JB&A is a distributor, but different from other distributors as I learned from Jeff Burgess, the CEO of JB&A. They are a distributor and integrator that specializes in putting systems together for broadcast and media professionals. They have a strong educational and training focus to their sales and support teams. If you are looking to create a system that requires products from multiple vendors, customization, or integration between products, JB&A would like to talk with you. Visit: www.jbanda.com.
I also met Dave Clack, the CEO of Square Box Systems, Ltd. They are the folks that make CatDV. Dave told me his key goals for the company are to provide: simplicity, flexibility, power and safety for media. If you have, say, one computer with multiple local and network hard disks attached, the entry-level CatDV Pro can search all of them to categorize media. If you have multiple editors working on multiple computers, as long as one computer can see the contents of the drives on other computers, CatDV Pro can index files on all systems. You only need the server version when you need multiple people indexing and searching CatDV at the same time. Square Box has entry level systems that start at $100, with the Pro version starting around $500. And even the entry level program can easily migrate data up to the workgroup and server based products, so that you don’t need to reenter data when you migrate. Learn more at: www.squarebox.com.
Caché earlier this month, launched a massing LTO library system that holds up to 80 LTO tapes, meaning you have access to more than 80 TB of data in the archive. While designed for larger corporate accounts, if you are generating massive amounts of media, this system can make your life a lot easier. As CEO Phil Ritti told me, their goal is to:
Learn more at: www.cache-a.com.
Thinking of archiving, Dr. Phil Storey, CEO of XenData, sees a lot of possibilities with archiving in the cloud. Not to a RAID, but via a system of LTO tape and XenData tape libraries. This allows you to have an off-site backup of all critical files to protect you in case of a disaster with the ease of getting files back via the Internet. While I am not a fan of the cloud, what Dr. Storey told me sounds very intriguing. He will have more during his interview this week on the Digital Production Buzz. Their website is: www.xendata.com.
BrightStar has a very cool ($200 to $700) hardware media player that you can set once and forget. A classic use of this technology is digital signage, in-store product demos, and other environments where you need media playback but don’t need or want to use a computer. This unit is the size of a hard-cover book, costs just a few hundred dollars and opens up a new world of production possibilities for us by allowing us to create videos for stores to use as part of their retail presence. At first, I simply listened to Ray Brooksby do the sales talk. But, the more I heard the more intrigued I became. These media players give us an entirely new market to expand our existing production and post-production skills that are then distributed using new forms of distribution. Learn more at: www.brightsign.biz.
In talking with a Telestream sales engineer, I learned that Telestream Wirecast streams using Adobe Flash. This means that iOS devices aren’t able to play the stream without using either translation software or a translation server. Learn more here: www.telestream.net.
I also gained some behind-the-scenes insight on why Thunderbolt devices are talking so long to come to market. While no one will say so directly, I suspect this the result of two principle factors: 1. A lack of Thunderbolt 2 chipsets which manufacturers can integrate into their products. 2. Issues with the certification process requiring more than the usual number of hoops for manufacturers to jump through. I’m continuing to follow this and will write more about it as I learn more.
Monday will see a variety of very cool announcements. I hope to have time to write a blog on many of them Monday evening. In the meantime, follow our coverage on NABShowBuzz.com starting Monday at 10:30 AM for our live audio coverage of NAB. All the details are on the website.